Retired former cyclocross world champion Niels Albert and ex-roadie Nick Nuyens are teaming up to propose the organization of a new "Belgian Strade Bianche" in the Hageland region east of Antwerp. According to Sporza, Nuyens, the former Quick Step-Rabo-Saxo-Garmin classics rider, is lobbying the UCI to include a Hageland race as a 1.1 level one-day race in August, 2016 (maximum 50% ProTeams). The idea is to mimick the popular "strade bianche" format from Tuscany, namely taking the peloton off pavement and on to dirt or gravel roads.
Nuyens himself trained in the region, while living in Lier, and as a race promoter he told Sporza that the lack of elite pro races in the area was an oversight. It's a little less clear what Albert's role is, but he too is a Hagelander, and probably knows where to find the nice dirt roads. If the duo get a thumbs-up from the UCI this week, they will go into planning mode and presumably announce the event later this fall. Stay tuned!